Thursday, October 4, 2012

Wake up from slumber VP tells United Nations

VP addresses sixty-seventh session of the General Assembly/PHOTO:United Nations.

In an address in New York to the 67thsession of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 26, 2012, Gambia’s vice president said the paralysis displayed by the UN member states common security mechanism is astounding.

Geopolitical interests have trampled the good will and humanitarian concerns that should compel us all to address these raging infernos – be it in Middle East, Asia or Africa, Dr. Isatou Njie-Saidy argues.

She suggests for a reform of the UN Security Council in order to do away with geopolitical interests which continues to undermine their collective security. 

The theme for the 67th UNGA is “Bringing about adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations by peaceful means” which Gambia’s No.2 welcomes. “As we speak, many conflicts are raging across the world in ways that challenge the credibility and clout of our organisation,” she said on Wednesday.

She cited current conflicts in Mali, Guinea Bissau and Syria, stressing that the Security Council should not be the stumbling block in the settlement of disputes by peaceful or other means.  

The international community will pay a very high and dear price if it did not wake up from its slumber and resolve the situations in Mali and Guinea Bissau. Crisis, she described as “threatening the peace and stability of Africa and the world at large.”

“Our youth are being sucked into conflicts and a life of crime with their productive talents being wasted,” she said. “Our modest economic gains are being wiped out through instability and even our societal cohesion is under serious threat.”

According to her, if the world fails to act fast and now, we risk creating more upheavals that will overwhelm our capacities to contain them.  
Gambia’s VP also noted that current security challenges in West Africa are compounded by events in Mali and G. Bissau, saying “ECOWAS should not be left alone to shoulder the burden of these conflicts.”

She said the UN Security Council must step up to the plague and act decisively in cooperation with the African Union and the sub-regional economic bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

“The signals coming from the Council are a bit disheartening for some of us. ECOWAS is ready to act. The AU is ready to act to salvage the situations in Mali and G.Bissau,” she stressed. “The Security Council must act with a sense of greater urgency. We cannot let terrorists, drug dealers and organised criminal gangs establish a sanctuary in our backyard.”  
She announced Gambia is ready to contribute meaningfully to the settlement of these conflicts as in line with its foreign policy. She demanded other countries equally show the same level of steadfastness they had shown in solving the conflicts in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The Sudans & Somalia

Dr. Isatou Njie-Saidy, also Head of Gambia’s Security Council, said her country is equally concerned about the lingering conflict between Sudan and South Sudan, suggesting dialogue as the “only way” of solving this long standing conflict.

She commends the AMISOM, combined forces of the UN and the African Union for progress made in Somalia. “The pressure must be sustained until all of Somalia is liberated and placed under the sole authority of the Somali government,” she said. 

Middle East
We are equally concerned about the various conflicts ravaging the Middle East, she said. The situation in Palestine is deplorable and has deteriorated to the point that a one-state solution may be inevitable. 

“Israel, the occupying power in defiance of international law, human decency and restraint is imposing a de facto situation on Palestinians through despicable settlement activity and land grabbing,” said Njie-Saidy, also a Women’s Affairs Minister in Gambia. 

“The sad reality is that it is the mechanisms of the UN Security Council that are constantly invoked to further delay or stifle necessary action in bringing lasting peace to Palestine.”

She added: “The excesses of Israel-land grabbing, settlement activity, mass imprisonment of Palestinians, denial of revenue, maiming, murder of Palestinians by the state apparatus and many others ought to be halted. Truth is bitter when told, but it is what will set us all free.”

In Syria, she called for a more positive role in resolving the conflict. She believes that the Annan Peace Plan would have brought about stability as well as provide for space for dialogue between the parties involved in the conflict. 

“Syria is now a deeply divided society and the international community is partly to blame for its actions or inaction,” she charged.

Let me also address some burning political issues, the Gambian vice president said, blasting the United States of America for its trade embargo on Cuba, which still stands 50 years on. Madam Njie-Saidy argues the embargo on the Caribbean Island state was imposed for “no justifiable reason.”

“If it ever made sense then, today it does not make sense keeping it in place! It is shameful that in the 21st century a cold war relic stands as the only stumbling block between the establishment of good neighbourly relations and the rejection of empty political cacophony in some quarters,” she said. “We call on the United States to totally extirpate the embargo and throw it in the dustbin of history where it properly belongs.”


VP Njie-Saidy also pleaded with the UN and China to contribute to opening the avenues for membership of Taiwan in the various funds, agencies, treaty bodies and programmes.

Taiwan has been gagged for many years and is not recognised as an independent country by mainland China, while the UN keeps the country at bay from joining its many agencies.  
However, Njie-Saidy said “Taiwan is a key player in international trade and politics.” 

It has enduring ties with China and so what we are appealing for is the practical extension of the rapport Taiwan has with China to the international stage, she said. China conducts trade, business and tourism with Taiwan and both engage in discussing a range of bilateral issues. 

“The rest of the international community ought to do the same including the United Nations. Avenues of dialogue have to be opened,” she demanded.

Written by Modou S. Joof

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